Release: AG Koster files suit against Volkswagen for violating Missouri environmental laws by using emissions-testing “defeat devices” in its diesel vehicles



Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit in St. Louis City against Volkswagen AG, and its affiliates Audi AG, and Porsche AG, as well as their American subsidiaries, for violations of Missouri’s Air Conservation Law.  The automaker perpetrated a massive fraud on environmental regulators by installing illegal “defeat devices” that impaired the emission control systems in more than 7,800 vehicles registered in the state of Missouri, resulting in the release of illegal amounts of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

In 2006, Volkswagen began executing its plan to deceive environmental regulators through the installation of defeat devices in model year 2009 “clean diesel” vehicles. In 2014, Volkswagen’s fraud was uncovered by graduate students at the University of West Virginia researching “clean diesel” emission technology in real world driving conditions. The graduate students discovered that in real world driving conditions, Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” vehicles emitted pollutants up to 40 times the legal limit. Even after the deception was discovered, Volkswagen’s deceit continued for 14 months as the company attempted to cover up its use of illegal defeat devices in an effort to circumvent environmental laws.

Environmental penalties were not included in Missouri’s June 2016, partial settlement with Volkswagen, which provided for Missouri to receive:

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Over $40 million in consumer restitution in the form of a consumer vehicle buy-back or vehicle-repair program, which will include a minimum of $5,000 per car for Missourians;

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]Up to $39 million for environmental air-remediation programs over the next few years; and

[if !supportLists]·       [endif]An $8,706,528.47 payment to the state for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Air pollution control is the primary responsibility of state and local governments. Missouri has enacted the Missouri Air Conservation Law to protect the health, general welfare, and physical property of Missouri citizens.

“Volkswagen’s actions demonstrate a flagrant disregard for Missouri’s environmental laws, as well as the health and welfare of Missourians,” Koster said. “We are fighting to hold Volkswagen accountable both to the consumers of the state who purchased Volkswagen vehicles, and all Missourians, who count on clean air to breathe.”

The Attorney General is asking the Court to assess civil penalties against Volkswagen to deter Volkswagen and other potential polluters from contaminating Missouri’s natural resources in violation of Missouri law.